what happens when oil pump fails

What Happens When an Oil Pump Fails?

The oil pump is the heart of a car engine lubricating system. Car engines use a completely force-feed lubrication system with the help of the oil pump. It pumps oil through all the moving parts of the engine that requires lubrication while it is running. This prevents friction and reduces heat from the engine components. So what happens when an oil pump fails?

Severe engine damage occurs when an oil pump fails, and you don’t replace it promptly. This situation is dangerous and expensive. To avoid this, you should Identify the common signs of a bad oil pump. Below, we will highlight these symptoms, causes of oil pump failure, and other questions about your oil pump.

Common Symptoms Of Oil Pump Failure

A car dashboard displayThe oil pump is a sturdy car part. So, you might wonder, “what happens if my oil pump fails?” If you notice any of the following symptoms, check your vehicle right away to avoid catastrophic engine damage.

1. Low oil pressure

The oil pump regulates the oil pressure. When the oil pump is getting worn out, the oil pressure becomes low. The warning light on the dashboard and the low oil pressure gauge turn on. You can check your oil level with the dipstick; if it is low, add more oil. If the oil pressure warning light is still on after, the pump is faulty, and you should replace it right away.

2. High engine temperature

what happens when the oil pump fails is that there will be inadequate lubrication and friction as the parts move. This generates heat while the engine is running and sets off the warning light of the temperature gauge on the dashboard.

3. Noisy from the valve train

The valve train opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves to allow air and fuel mix to enter and leave the combustion chamber. The valve train requires lubrication before it can function well. What happens when the oil pump fails is that the valve train will not get adequate lubrication and will start to make noise.

4. Noise from the hydraulic valve lifters

The hydraulic lifters allow the valve train to work with zero clearance. This reduces the wear and tear of the engine and enables it to operate more quietly. The hydraulic lifter requires sufficient oil pressure for lubrication so that it can function properly and quietly. Noise from the hydraulic lifters is what happens when your oil pump fails.

5. Noise from the oil pump

As its internal gear mechanism wears and starts to fail, the oil pump begins to make noise. You will hear a loud whining sound while the car is idling.

Why Would An Oil Pump Fail?

engine oil changeThe following situations can cause the oil pump to malfunction:

1. Low level of engine oil

The level of engine oil should be sufficient to circulate through the engine parts properly. Insufficient lubrication and more friction will occur if the engine frequently runs at a low oil level. This leads to warping of the pump components and other mechanical problems. Eventually, the pump will fail.

2. Wear and tear

Like almost all mechanical devices, oil pumps gradually lose optimal performance due to unavoidable wear and tear. Even if the pump does not fail entirely, it will be due for replacement with constant use over time.

3. Infrequent oil changes

As the engine flows through the moving engine components, sludge and other particles accumulate in the oil. Consequently, the oil loses the ability to lubricate effectively. The particles cause the engine and oil pump to wear out faster. Hence, frequent oil and oil filter changes are a  necessity.

4. Wrong engine Oil

Using oil with the wrong viscosity can damage the oil pump. So, go with the oil recommendations of the car manufacturer

5. Open relief valves

The relief valve regulates oil pressure in the vehicle engine. Open valves can make the oil pressure low, and the valves can open due to the particles in the oil. How can you prevent relief valve failure?  Regular oil changes and a functional oil filter can work effectively.

6. Oil contamination

Particles may get into the oil as it flows through the engine, or fuel might get into the oil due to a fault in the engine. Regardless of the cause, the oil pump will start to have problems when there is oil contamination.

7. Engine sludge

Sludge(a combination of dirt, old engine oil, and old engine oil) restricts normal oil flow and causes friction and heat. As a result, the oil pump starts to malfunction.

How to Fix Oil Pump Failure

Auto mechanicLow oil pressure is what happens when the car oil pump fails. Oil pump replacement is not an easy repair, and therefore, we recommend getting a professional mechanic. So, how long does it take to replace an oil pump? A mechanic may spend about six to eight hours, but the time may vary from one vehicle to another.


What happens when an oil pump fails is that there is severe damage to the car engine. To prevent this, check oil levels in the engine, change oil and replace the oil filters when due. Also, follow oil viscosity and service schedule recommendations on the car manual and routine vehicle maintenance.






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